The paper "African Religion" is a great example of a research paper on religion and theology.
Many religion scholars and anthropologists, philosophers, historians and sociologists have done research on the various ways and beliefs and norms of the African culture. To give explanations, interests as well as outlooks on ways of life that matter a great deal under a societal context. Various attempts to give a clear explanation on the cultures of Africa have at some instances generated differences in opinions and findings. Religio-phenomenological way of approach by various scholars has proved that the study should be in more focus on cultural context since the study of religion outside the cultural context is much legitimate.
The application of a holistic approach in the study of the African way of religion cannot be depended on as a sure way since most of the anthropologists do not regard religion as a sure entity for them to base their argument on. The assessment by western anthropologists has created an influence on the research made by African scholars on religion to a limited extent. However, there is much on the African religion that can be related to the findings of western anthropological works that are fully based on the concepts of religion.
Research has shown that there is a relationship between African religions with God. In this context, God is at the top as the head and under him are the superhuman beings that comprise of divinities and spirits. The African way of belief is that the beings acted as the intermediaries between God and human beings. The African culture incorporates the existence of ancestors in their relationship with God. At times comparisons are made of these intermediaries with the role played by saints in the modern Christian churches.
The anthropologists have often been questioned on overlooking the importance of believing in God as per the African religion in relation to general religion. Comparison between African and western scholars of religion as well as western anthropologists gives clear evidence that the difference occurs only between the scholar of religion, both African and western, and anthropologists. Books by African scholars of religion tend to prove the point that the authors are influenced in a way by their cultural believes and norms.
A monographic study carried out, show that it is easy to distinguish the deeper parts of the religion clearly compared to the theoretical aspects, this is mostly in the case of the use of symbols. The oral culture, Muslim and Christianity have laid a foundational basis for the study of religion. African religion is so diversified depending on the different ethnic groups to extend that bringing out the misconceptions clearly needs a deeper study on the ways of religion.
Strong religions of the world begun with their founders within a period of time that leads to the writing of documents that could guide the believers along, as a result of this; canonical regulations existed later on after the death of the founders. The historical process leading to religious ways of life to exist to the state that is currently is important to be noted. Resilience and change have led to the African religion portray its significance in playing a role towards contribution in contemporary knowledge.
Few Africans however, have their arguments centred on describing and making of analysis about the religious change in Africa. This has added much to the existence of the knowledge of traditional ways of worshipping. This brings out the ways in which the traditional African religion gives its contribution to the society at large.
Africa gets associated with new trends that involve new ways of thinking and believing. This is in the context of reality and investigation about it, bringing about holistic deposition that triggers an impact on the existence of human. Worldview has difficulty with rational emphasis from the modern world that comes along at the expense of the dimensions of the existence of some people.
The objectivity which is not on emphasis on personal involvement has no acceptance. This creates a contrary view on the mental leaning of the bible in Christian churches as a way to give a basis of religion. In Africa, belief cannot be a satisfying reason to be an epistemological issue. The deep attainment that is sensitive to acceptance is regarded rather than mental acceptance. In African tradition, they believe in the existence of surrounding beings that include the metaphysical world that does constitute the natural setting of the society.
Time fundamentally has a vital role in the aspect of human existence. It breaks the gap between traditional religion and the relationship that exists with other people. The sacred connected to religion is beyond the man and hence inspires the respect of man as well as admiration. Elements of meditation were significant in the African approach to divinity. The drum plays a role in this case with various reasons that vary from one society to another. The socio-religious ethics of Africa in relation to religion has reference to the divinity. Religious politics and myths are taken with due respect for the importance of divinity
The pattern in religion is held in belief in the existence of a super natural being that governs the universe. This is in spirits, in life after death and in some mysterious powers of nature. As for the Nigerians, they loved and embraced the religions of their forefathers and that remained intact and well preserved and considered to be divine by the people.
In conclusion, African child and the religious scholars, as well as the anthropologists, need to continuously re-examine records that have a concern on religion. The available records tell of the forefathers’ ways of reverencing to the divinity, this helps in tracking the real cultural ways of the African people in regard to divinity.
Olupona, J. (1991). African traditional religion in contemporary society. New York: Paragon House.